Self Help

The Mechanic

I am Nature’s own nobleman; happy and free,
A peer of the realm might well envy me,
For the land of the eagle has given me birth,
And my sons are all freemen that meet round my hearth.

Your critics now rising with beauty and might,
Whose palace like towers are fair to the sight,
My hands helped to build them, my strength lent its aid.
And by the sweat of my brow your proud cities are laid.

The ship that sweeps proudly o’er the far spreading sea,
Has been timbered and fashioned by the labor of me,
And the pure massive marble that strikes the view,
Is chiseled and formed by the artisan too.

The smith as he hums o’er his anvil a glee,
He toils not for happiness or power – not be
He dreads not lost office; he seeks none to gain –
And the smithy’s a king in his own proud domain.

The bravest of men from mechanics have spring,
And the sweetest of lays mechanics have sung,
And the proudest of hearts mechanics should wear,
When conscious of right in their bosom they hear.


Little Things

Scorn not the slightest word or deed
Nor deem it void of power;
There’s fruit in each wind wasted seed
Waiting its natal hour,.

A whispering word may touch the heart,
And call it back to life;
a look of love bid sin depart,
And still unholy strife.

No act falls fruitless; none can tell
How vast its power may be;
Nor what results enfolded dwell
Within it, silently.

Work and despair not; give they mite,
Nor care how small it be;
God is with all that serve the right,
The holy true and free.


Forgive and Forget

By the Author of Proverbial Philosophy

When streams of unkindness as bitter as gall,
Bubble up from the heart to the tongue,
And Meekness is writhin in torment and thrall,
By the hands of Ingratidue wrung –

In the heat of injustice, unwept and unfair,
While the anguish is festering yet,
None, none but an angel of God can declare
“I now can forgive and forget”

But, if the bad spirit is chased from the heart,
And the lips are in penitence, steeped,
With the wrong so repented the wrath will depart,
Though scorn on injustice were heaped;

For the best compensation is paid for ill,
When the cheek with contrition is wet.
And every one feels it is possible still,
At once to forgive and forget.

To forget? it is hard for a man with a mind,
However his heart may forgive,
To blot out all perils and dangers behind,
And but for the future to live;

Then how shall it be? for at every turn
Recollection the spirit will fret,
And the ashes of injury smoulder and burn,
Though we strive to forgive and forget.

Oh, hearken! my tongue shall the riddle unseal,
And mind shall be partner with heart,
While thee to thyself I bid conscience reveal,
And show thee how evil thou art;

Remember thy follies, thy sins, and thy crimes
How vast is that infinite debt!
Yet Mercy hath seven by seventy times
Been swift to forgive and forget.

Brood not on insults or injuries old
For thou art injurious too –
Count not the sum till the total is total,
For thou art unkind and untrue:

And if all thy harms are forgotten, forgiven,
Now Mercy with justice is met,
Oh who would not gladly take lessons of Heaven
Nor learn to forgive and forget?

Yes; yes, let a man when his enemy weeps,
Be quick to receive him a friend;
For thus on his head in kindness he heaps
Hot coals – to refine and amend

And hearts that are Christian more eagerly yearn,
As a nurse on her innocent pet,
Over lips that, once bitter, to penitence turn
And whisper, Forgive and forget.



How beautifully falls
From human lips to the blessed word forgive!

Forgiveness – ‘tis the attribute of God. –
The sound that openeth heaven – renews again

On earth lost Eden’s faded bloom, and faded bloom, and flings
Hope’s halcyon halo o’er the waste of life.

Thrice happy he whose heart has been so schooled
In the meek lesson of humanity

That he can give it utterance; it imparts
Celestial grandeur to the human soul,

And maketh man an angel. elf help


Be Active

Be active – be active –
Find something to do,
In digging a clam-bank,
Or tapping a shoe.

Don’t stop at the corners
To drag out the day –
Be active – be active –
And work while you may.

‘Tis foolish to falter,
Or lag in the street,
Or walk as if chain shot
Were fast to your feet.

Be active – be active –
And do what you can
‘Tis industry only
That maketh the man.

‘Tis industry makes you,
Remember – be wise –
From sloth and from stupor
Awake and arise.

You’ll live and be happy,
And never complain
Of the blues, or the dumps,
Or a dull heavy brain.


Never Give It Up

Never give it up! it is wiser and better,
Always to hope than once to despair;
Fling off the loads of doubt’s cankering fetter,
And break the dark spell of tyrannical care,

Never give it up! or the burden may sink you, -
Providence kindly has mingled the cup,
And in all trials of troubles, bethink you,
The watchword of life must be, never give it up.

Never give it up! There are chances and changes
Helping the hopeful to one,
And through the chaos. High Wisdom arranges
Ever success – if you’ll only hope on:

Knowing that Providence mingles the cup,
And of all maxims the best as the oldest,
Is the true watch word of, never give it up!

Never give it up! though the graph shot may rattle!
Or the full thunder cloud over you burst,
Stand like a rock – and the storm of the battle
Little shall harm, though doing their worst,

Never give it up! if adversity presses,
Providence wisely has mingled the cup,
And the best counsel in all your distresses,
Is the stout watchword of, Never give up!


Be Patient

Be patient, Oh, be patient! put your ear against the ear;
Listen there how noiselessly the germ of the seed has birth;
How noiselessly and gentle it upheaves its little way,
Till parts the scarcely broken ground, and the blade stands up in the day!

Be patient, Oh be patient! the germs of mighty thought
Must have their silent undergrowth, must under ground be wrought;
But as sure as ever, there’s a power that makes the grass appear,
Our land shall be green with Liberty, the blade-time shall be here.

Be patient, Oh, be patient! go and watch the wheat ears grow!
So imperceptibly, that ye can mark no change nor throe;
Day after day – day after day, till the ear is fully grown;
And then again, day after day till the ripened field is brown.

Be patient, Oh, be patient! though yet our hopes are green,
The harvest-fields of Freedom shall be crowned with the sunny sheen;
Be ripening! be ripening! mature your silent way,
Till the whole broad land is tongued with fire on freedom’s harvest day!

—from the Dublin Nation


Try Again

For the Voice of Industry

Try again! try again!
Never mind the clouds or rain;
Let the mind be up and stirring –
Chide the sinful, turn the erring,
Try again! try again!

Try again! try again!
Why should the spirit shrink or quail?
See! a glorious day is dawning;
Soon a bright and cloudless morning!
Try again! try again!

Try again! try again!
Heart and hope should never wane;
Fear ye not the bold aggressor,
Heed ye not the stern oppressor; -
Try again! try again!

Try again! try again!
Never fear the slanderer’s stain;
Blush ye not at ‘infedel’
Fear ye not the doom they tell;
Try again! try again!



Mind Your Own Business

What are another’s faults to me?
I’ve not a vulture’s bill.
To pick at every flaw I see,
And make it wider still!

It is enough for me to know
I’ve follies of my own. –
And on my heart the care bestow,
And let my friends alone.

—From the Farmer and Ledger


Ye Men of Wisdom

Ye men of wisdom – men of might,
Why should ye struggle with the clod,
And mother all the glorious light
Within – the blessed gift of God

He made you in his image, not
To be degraded in the dust –
With fear and misery your lot –
Half eaten with a cankering rust.

Put forth your strength and energies,
And act like sterling men – who feel
That they can pierce the vaulted skies,
Or make earth’s foundations reel.

Lose not a moment – up – away
Where duty prompts or interest calls –
Determined every foe to slay,
Or die where every brave man falls.

The dust of earth was never made
To be your pillow – ‘tis your shroud;
And fools alone themselves degrade,
And dare not think or speak aloud.

Up! are you strength, and burst the band,
That fetters your immortal mind,
And take a high and glorious stand,
And cast your doubts and fears behind.

—D.C. Colesworth


The Village Blacksmith

Under a spreading chestnut tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp and black and long;
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat.
He earns whate’er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man,

Week out, week in, from morn till night,
you can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear his heavy sledge,
With measure beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the old lark chimes
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They look to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly,
Like chaff from a threshing floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He bears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughters voice,
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother’s voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard rough hand he wipes
A tear from on his eyes.

Toiling – rejoicing – sorrowing –
Onward though life he goes:
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close:
Something attempted – something done,
Has earned a night’s a repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of Life,
Our fortunes must be wrought,
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.

—H.W. Longfellow


How Shall I Act my Part?

Shall I be foremost on the field,
The warrior’s part to play,
And skillfully the weapon wield,
Which taketh life away?

And thus a reinforcement send
The mourners’ ranks to fill;
Then ask my God to be my friend
And seed me blessings still?

Or in the sacred desk if I
A gospel warrior be,
Teaching that all deserve to die
Who dare dispute with me,

And fan the Bible with my breath
To prove such doctrine true,
What will be due me after death
For work I thus may do?

If I do stand in matchless state
Professor of the Laws,
To shield my client in debate
Whatever be his cause –

Shall I be able thus to prove
That I am just and true?
Will God look down in kindest love
To witness what I do?

If I attempt a Doctor’s part
My mission thus to fill,
Professing superhuman art
In saving whom I will –

While holding thus the magic charm
To make the wounded whole,
Oh! shall I find the healing balm,
For my poor wounded soul?

If I am lord of many lands
And treasures snug in store,
And hold in my unworthy hands
The titles of the poor;

And thus I send my name abroad
O’er all the land and sea;
How will it plead my cause with God?
How will it answer me?

Oh let me stand where Jesus stood!
To act that faithful part –
Let me go out to fight for God
With pure and perfect heart!

Oh let me fight as Jesus fought!
In yielding till I die –
Yes, let me act as Jesus taught
Till down in death I lie!

—From the Danville Intelligencer


The Voice of Industry is in the public domain.


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